Richards Swipes Double And Training Honours

Sha Tin on Wednesday  

Jamie Richards erased the frustrations of a challenging opening to the season with a double at Sha Tin with Magniac and G Liner on Wednesday as the New Zealander continued to build telling momentum.

Gathering impetus with four wins from his past 13 starters, Richards notched his first Sha Tin double of the campaign when Karis Teetan led throughout on G Liner in the Class 4 Peacock Handicap before Hugh Bowman, substituting for an indisposed Zac Purton, triumphed on Magniac in the Class 3 Flamingo Handicap.

Magniac seals a brace for Jamie Richards under Hugh Bowman (Pic – HKJC)

“It’s been frustrating, to say the least, how things have started for us this season at Sha Tin,” Richards said after the all-dirt race programme. “You can only play the cards you’ve got and what happens here in Hong Kong is that if they don’t run well, they drop (ratings) points and then they can be effective.

“Thankfully, we’re just taking our time and building for the back end of the season, our two winners today were courtesy of very good rides by the jockeys who were on board. It’s very important here in Hong Kong. You need every little percentage that you can get and we’re thankful for their good judgment.”

Veteran galloper All For St Paul’s took his career earnings to beyond HK$14 million with victory in the Class 2 Egret Handicap, leading all the way for Angus Chung – and claiming a small but significant piece of history in trainer Frankie Lor’s stable.

“For me as a trainer, this is my first horse to win nine races,” Lor, Hong Kong’s champion trainer in 2021/22, said.

Michael Chang has eight wins for the season (Pic – HKJC)

“Chung got his pace right. The first two quarters (29.66s, 24.36s) were very slow, maybe the other horses thought it would be easy to pass him so that’s why they let him go slow, but this horse can always just keep rolling,” Lor said.

Chiron struck under Derek Leung in the Class 5 Swan Handicap, charging from last at the 600m to win convincingly to the relief of trainer David Hayes.

“He’s a tricky horse,” Hayes said after logging his 20th winner of the season. “He’s a bit of a thinker. If you push him too hard in the first half of the race, he won’t try. He was ridden patiently and he ran well.

“I put him over some small jumps this morning in the dressage ring and he loved it.”

Chris So’s Strive For Glory was also a spectacular winner, sweeping from the tail of the field to land the first section of the Class 4 Kestrel Handicap for Keagan De Melo before Sky Forever ended Brenton Avdulla’s 67-ride run of outs with victory for Manfred Man in the second section of the Class 4 Kestrel Handicap.

“I’m happy, obviously things were going well early,” Avdulla said after posting his 12th win of the campaign. “I got suspended and then I had a three-meeting gap but it halted all of my momentum.

“What I had worked for at the start of the season was really brought undone. I haven’t checked any numbers or anything, I’ve been riding well but just needed the opportunities.”

Michael Chang’s So We Joy extended his affinity with the Sha Tin dirt with a fourth win over the course and distance by claiming the Class 3 Heron Handicap for Andrea Atzeni.

Jimmy Ting-trained Blissful Star’s recent consistency was rewarded with a gritty win in the Class 4 Spoonbill Handicap under a ground-saving Antoine Hamelin ride.

Responsible for a pair of minor placings at his two previous runs, the six-year-old was given a brilliant passage by Hamelin before edging out Winning Steps in the last stride.

Hong Kong racing continues on Sunday with the running of the Gr1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin.

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